Saturday, 27 October 2012

Miguel Vazquez v Marvin Quintero

In a less that entertaining bout Miguel Vazquez (32-3, 13) successfully retained his IBF Lightweight title against the hard hitting Marvin Quintero (25-4, 21) in a bout that really failed to ever come alive.

The champion claimed a number of the early rounds via his movement and jab whilst Quintero, who applied constant pressure, threw little and seemed to be chasing Vazquez as opposed to punching him. Despite Vazquez's successes early on Quintero gradually cut the distance and in the middle rounds the challenger was starting to win rounds and tag the champion time and time again.

By round 8 the bout had really closed up and there was really only a round in it either way as Quintero started to enforce his will on the bout. Despite the huge gulf in technical skill Vazquez wasn't boxing any longer, instead of punching and moving he was almost running away and forcing Quintero to chase him and make the fight, something he did and he did well. The bought didn't widen in either rounds 9 or 10 as both men made legitimate claims for both of the rounds, which meant it was all to fight for in the championship rounds.

With the bout so close it was amazing to see Vazquez really impose himself in round 11, a round that he won so clearly that it was probably the most dominant single round of the fight (despite the fact Quintero didn't land a punch in the opening round according to Compubox). The penultimate round really showed the class of "Titere" who landed at will and completely neutralised Quintero. This lead to Quintero really chasing the fight in the final round and whilst Quintero just won the round on my card, he failed to score the knock down that could have won him the fight.

When it came to the scorecards there was enough close rounds to understand a wide selections of scores and perhaps understandably the judges were split. The first card read out was a 115-113 in favour of Quintero, the second card was 116-112 Vazquez (the same score as I had it) though the third card was simply ludicrous seeing Vazquez as the winner 118-110.

The decision was booed though that may have more to do with the lack of action early on and the third scorecard which deserved a round of boos on it's own. Score cards of 116-112 EITHER way would have been understandable, but 118-110 was a joke card I'm afraid.

This should have been a chance for Vazquez to make an impression though sadly he failed to box to the best of his ability. He spent too much time running and not enough time boxing, and as a result won't have made many new fans tonight. In fact if anyone was the "real winner" here it was Quintero who will almost certainly be on HBO due to the fact he appears to be fun to watch. He's not the most skilled or the most durable but he'll be fun on the fringes of the world level and in fact the perfect opponent for Ricky Burns to make his mark on America against.

Takahiro Ao v Gamaliel Diaz

In this first of this weekends title fights we saw a noteworthy upset as Japanese fighter Takahiro Ao (23-3-1, 10) lost his WBC Super Featherweight title to Mexican Gamaliel Diaz (37-9-2, 17) via decision, despite the fact Diaz was the visiting fighter.

Despite going in to the bout as the under-dog, the upset minded Diaz (who also holds wins over Elio Rojas and Robert Guerrero) managed to rip the title away from Ao in a rather uninteresting fight. The bout started well for Diaz who managed to land long right hands from the off and whilst Ao looked for the counters he was simply getting tagged far too often early on.

Diaz's domination would see him becoming more confident and sadly his confidence was punished as he was deducted points for low blows, however even the deductions wouldn't deny him as he repeatedly threw his looping right hand and repeatedly found the target. Sadly for Ao he didn't seem to have a plan B and even  when he upped his own work rate he failed to really force the issue, in fact when he looked to force the bout he merely suffered a cut as Diaz continued to to be the accurate aggressor.

Whilst a rematch is possible, I'd imagine that Diaz will look to "cash out" and make a name in the US. Although he's not the most talented he's a fighter who is confident and on a 14 fight winning streak and a fight with someone Diego Magdaleno could be very interesting. Despite being experienced I don't see Diaz holding the title for long.

For Ao this was a major learning experience. In terms of raw skills he's a much, much better fighter than he showed, he fought the wrong game plan and was punished and hopefully this will serve as a lesson that he will need to do more if he can encourage Diaz to give him a rematch. If Ao cannot get a rematch he will perhaps be looking for a bout with countryman Takashi Uchiyama or some confidence rebuilding "easy" wins.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Omar Andres Narvaez v Johnny Garcia

Talented Argentinian Omar Andres Narvaez (37-1-2, 20) successfully defended his WBO Super Flyweight title for the fifth time as he stopped Mexican Johnny Garcia (16-4-1, 8) in the 11th round of an impressive and emotionally charged bout.

The bout, first scheduled for Wednesday, was delayed following the death of Narvaez's father and in the opening round Narvaez did look like his mind was else where as he spent much of the round outside of his own range behind his high guard, allowing Garcia to hit his arms. Midway through round 2 however Narvaez seemed to realise he was in a fight and tried to launch his own hard shorts, often leaping at the much bigger Garcia with big left hands whilst frustrating the challenger with clever movement. Through the first 3 rounds Garcia seemed to be in the lead thanks to hi aggressiveness, however he was looking wild and sent himself to the canvas at one point whilst swinging at Narvaez.

By the mid point of the fourth round you could see Garcia gradually getting more frustrated with Narvaez and not only was Garcia missing a lot, but he was wasting a lot of energy against a very tricky Narvaez who, whilst not winning the fight at this point, was starting to tire the much younger Garcia. In round 5 Narvaez started to close the range and whilst he didn't do enough to really stamp his authority on the round, he seemed to have finally started to warm to the bout, however the round was sadly rather stop start after a number of accidental fouls by the challenger.

In round 6 the snap seemed to have gone from Garcia as Narvaez started to turn the screw and stood in the pocket and looked like he was really getting in the groove in his most impressive round up to that point. If the sixth was Narvaez finding his groove then the seventh was Narvaez showing a mean streak as he continued to stand in the pocket and land numerous, hurtful shots, almost appearing to take his emotions out on Garcia's head and body in a hugely impressive round that saw Garcia dropped officially for the first time in the bout.

As Garcia went back to his corner following round 7 he appeared to be a beaten man whilst Narvaez seemed to be a man with bad thoughts on in his mind. Surprisingly however Garcia came out for round 8 looking like a rejuvenated fighter before a nasty clash of heads had both men wincing with Garcia being deducted a point. Late in round 8 Narvaez seemed to look for the stoppage but Garcia managed to survive thanks to some confusion by both men regarding the end of the round.

Although Narvaez was controlling the bout it wasn't until the final minute of round 11 that he made his control really count for something as he dropped Garcia 3 times forcing the referee to wave the bout off and give Narvaez his first stoppage victory since moving up from Flyweight. Interestingly it's the third time Narvaez has stopped an opponent in the 11th round (with his last stoppage also being in the 11th round).

At 37 years old Narvaez is on the slide. He proved he still has the speed, skills and movement to hang with younger fighters though I wouldn't be surprised if he were to announce his retirement in the next few months, maybe going out with 1 more fight to finish a memorable, if under-rated career. For Garcia however I think we'll probably see him again as a perennial but limited challenger.

Pungluang Sor Singyu v AJ Banal

In one of this past weekends "forgotten" fights, Thai Pungluang Sor Singyu (43-1, 28) claimed the WBO Bantamweight title by traveling to the Philippines and stopping the highly touted Filipino AJ Banal (28-2-1, 20) in 9 rounds.

The bout started well for Banal who appeared to be the sharper, quicker boxer and it was he who certainly took a number of the early rounds as Singyu was made to look like a pretty average plodder.

Despite the great start for Banal, Singyu started to work his way into the bout and by round 5 was visibly getting to the Filipino who was seemed to be slowing just as Singyu was finding his own rhythm. By round 6 Banal was showing the damage of war as an accidental clash of heads opened a nasty cut above his right eye and  it was also the same round that saw Banal deducted a point for a low blow.

The tough looking Thai seemed to grow in confidence from the blood on Banal's face and started to really chip away at Banal's resolve before dropping him twice in the ninth round and bloodying his face further before referee Tony Weeks stopped the contest. Although Banal was on his feet when he was stopped, he was a broken man and a badly beaten fighter who had been gradually beaten to a stand still.

After the fight Banal apparently mentioned that he's considering retirement from the sport, a real shame as the 23 year old still has a lot to give the sport and is still a talented fighter who will almost certainly be able to come again. For Singyu however this should be a launch pad for him to be able to really make a name for himself. He's rebuilt his career well since suffering his lone defeat to the talented Belgian Stephane Jamoye (by split decision back in 2009).

With a number of top tier Bantamweight's based in the east, it's difficult to imagine Singyu not facing someone like compatriot Suriyan Sor Rungvisai or even Filipino Rolly Matsushita.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam v Peter Quillin

American Peter Quillin (28-0, 20) successfully claimed the WBO Middleweight title after winning an interesting bout with French based-Cameroon born Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam (27-1, 17) in a bout that saw someone's 0 needing to go.

The bout started well for the defending champion who appeared to clearly take the opening 3 rounds with a combination of his fast, accurate hands and his excellent movement which at times left Quillin looking clueless. In round 4 however Quillin had his first real moments of success as he tagged N'Dam for the first time before twice dropping N'Dam N'Jikam to score a 10-7 round and bring the scores level on my card at 37-37. At this point it seemed clear that Quillin was going to stop N'Dam N'Jikam.

Following the excellent 4th round for Quillin it was surprising to see him give away the initiative the following round as N'Dam N'Jikam was allowed to recover his legs and regain the lead on my card. Quillin didn't once try to force the issue and although he stalked his man he simply refused to let his hands go enough to take advantage of a still shaken N'Dam N'Jikam.

Amazingly despite giving away round 5, Quillin came out in round 6 with bad intentions and again dropped N'Dam N'Jikam twice to claim a second 10-7 round. This round also saw Quillin inflicting a nasty looking cut over his opponents eye and once again it appeared as if Quillin was heading towards a clear stoppage win. N'Dam N'Jikam was really looking hurt when he was tagged and on a number of occasions appeared done though showed amazing heart and fantastic recuperative ability.

Shockingly in round 7 Quillin again allowed N'Dam N'Jikam off the hook and instead of going in for the kill he sat on the ropes and allowed N'Dam N'Jikam to out work him and re-establish himself. It was bizarre that Quillin didn't try and finish off his man whilst he was still hurt for a second time and instead allowed N'Dam N'Jikam to claim the round with real ease.

N'Dam N'Jikam built on his success from round 7 and appeared to sweep rounds 9-11 with his superior work rate nd actually appeared to hurt Quillin at several points as some thought he may just have sneaked into the lead. Sadly for N'Dam however his fate was sealed in the last 30 seconds of the bout as Quillin dropped him twice to claim a third 10-7 round and also claim a very narrow win.

Despite only clearly winning 3 rounds Quillin's power had been the difference between the two men as those 3 10-7 rounds were the difference between winning and losing on my card. Sadly however the official judges (who all posted cards of 115-107) appeared to have failed to credit N'Dam N'Jikam for his success, and scoring the bout 7-5 in favour of Quillin was a joke. No argument with Quillin winning, the knockdowns secured him the win, but giving Quillin 7 rounds is a real, real travesty.

Randall Bailey v Devon Alexander

This past weekend young American Devon Alexander (24-1, 13) successfully claimed the IBF Welterweight as he out worked the hard hitting, former champion Randall Bailey (43-8-0-1, 37) in a relatively poor match. Sadly, despite becoming a 2-weight world champion Alexander did little to really excite the fans.

The bout started slowly with Bailey looking to land his fearsome right hand, dubbed "The Stick of Dynamite" whilst Alexander was able to use his feet to dart in and out with his own shots in a very cautious opening. Sadly the opening round set the tone of the bout which rarely came alive.

It wasn't until round 5 that Bailey found any real success, landing two monster right hands on Alexander who took them startlingly well before firing back himself. In fact it appeared that not only could Alexander take Bailey's best shots, but could actually hurt Bailey himself, a rather surprising feature of the bout. Sadly this was one of the bouts few interesting rounds as most of the other rounds saw little action.

In round 6, both men were deducted a point for holding as the bout dipped again and the crowd showed their displeasure by loudly booing both men. Alexander, whilst clearly the busier man, wasn't busy enough and spent more time using his feet than his hands whilst Bailey was literally giving rounds away by doing nothing other than looking for an opportunity. It was dire.

Sadly despite the boos neither fighter really changed what they were doing over the following rounds and it appeared that both men were more interested in sending the viewers asleep, rather than their opponent.

Despite the lack of activity Bailey was on the receiving end of a nasty cut in the later rounds above his eye, though with so much of the bout gone and the inactivity of both men it was clearly not going to force an early stoppage and sadly the fans were forced to watch the final rounds. Like much of the bout, very little actually happened as Alexander continued his intelligent but cautious boxing.

By the time the scorecards were read out by Jimmy Lennon Jr, it was clear that Alexander had won due to the fact that he had actually done something. The surprises however came not only in the fact that the boos had become louder as the bout had finished but also just how little Bailey had done, with punch numbers being shown on the screen showing Bailey to have thrown less than 200 punches (198) over the 12 rounds! That's an average of 16.5.

For Alexander it's a win and a title, however it will be the sort of performance that will put fans off him, for Bailey however it's almost certainly the end. I'd advise Alexander to dine out on that title for as long as he can as he's not going to be a wanted man when he loses it. He made the fight stink. Sure he threw over 500 punches but he had an opponent in against him who was doing nothing.

For fight fans, this is one to avoid, at no point did a fight really break out.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Danny Garcia v Erik Morales II

As a boxing fan some things are really upsetting, and watching an icon nearly have his head knocked off his shoulders is up there with the worst. Sadly for Erik Morales (?-?) I think we saw the final death knell in an hall of fame career tonight as Danny "Swift" Garcia (?-?) almost certainly ended Morales' career.

The early rounds of the bout saw a mature Garcia showing Morales little respect. The WBA "super" and WBC Light Welterweight champion seemed to no longer respect Morales as he had done when the two men first met earlier this year. Instead Garcia seemed to realise he was now a world champion.

Garcia had won the opening 2 rounds but in round 3 really made a statement as he seriously hurt Morales just before the bell. A dazed Morales headed to Garcia's corner before being guided, by his team to his own corner and from then on the writing was on the wall.

It didn't take long for Garcia to take advantage of a dazed Morales and midway through the fourth round Morales was almost sent out of the ring by a wonderful Garcia counter that saw Morales down and forced the referee to wave the bout off.

Whilst Morales isn't the fighter he once was, and in fact is a washed up fighter (despite his Ring magazine rating of #6 going into the bout) this was still a sorry and upsetting sight. Thankfully for Garcia it's job done and hopefully he'll face Lucas Matthysse next year in a fight to truly decide the #1 guy at Light Welterweight.  Whilst Garcia may well be the WBC and WBA "super" champion at 140lbs, few will accept him as the stand out guy unless he can defeat Matthysse, and that appears to be the bout that the fans are calling for.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Nonito Donaire v Toshiaki Nishioka

The highly regarded Nonito Donaire (30-1, 19) made the second successful defense of the WBO Super Bantamweight title as he stopped the well respected Japanese fighter Toshiaki Nishioka (39-5-3, 24) in 9 rounds. Sadly despite this being a very notable win for Donaire it wasn't a fight that matched the expectation that many had, as Nishioka was simply ring rusty and too old.

The bout started very cautiously for Nishioka who seemed almost unwilling to open up in the first 5 rounds which were all clear and easy Donaire rounds. Nishioka gauged the distance well to keep Donaire out of range, and the Filipino-American threw plenty but landed little whilst the Japanese challenger just threw literally nothing.

In round 6 Nishioka opened up for the first time in the bout, sadly however he was made to pay and he was dropped for the first time in the bout. By now the challenger was a long way behind on the scorecards.

Through rounds 7 and 8 Nishioka grew into the bout and he actually had a shout for winning one of those rounds however he was still cautious and didn't appear that willing to actually have a fight with Donaire, and with good reason as Donaire hits hard and was much, much sharper.

Sadly for the challenger it appears that Donaire was luring him into a false sense of security and in round 9, with Nishioka on the offense Donaire landed a beautiful right hand counter that sent Nishioka down for the second time. Although Nishioka recovered to his feet the bout was soon stopped by his corner who realised their man wasn't at the races.

Despite this being a good name on Donaire's record it needs to be known that this isn't the Nishioka of 2 or 3 years ago. This was a 36 year old Nishioka who hadn't fought in over a year and it showed.

For Donaire a fight with Rigondeaux is almost required, for Nishioka however retirement looms.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Kompayak Porpramook v Adrian Hernandez II

Mexican Adrian Hernandez (25-2-1, 16) regained the WBC Light Flyweight title as he exacted revenge from Thai Kompayak Porpramook (46-4, 31) in a rematch of one of 2011's fight of the year contenders.

When the two men first met back in December 2011 Porpramook managed to stop Hernandez in a 10 round war in Thailand. The then challenger simply broke down the then champion to claim the title and end Hernandez's first reign after just 1 successful defense. This time around however the roles were reversed, the champion, Porpramook, was the visitor to the challengers homeland, and like in the first bout, the champion would be stopped.

The bout started very fast with neither man really feeling the need to feel out the other and from the off it looked like we were in for another very enjoyable war between two genuine warriors who gave their all in their first bout. Through out much of the round Hernandez attempted to control the distance with his hard jab though up close appeared more than willing to go punch-for-punch with the Thai.

The second round followed the same pattern of the opening round with Hernandez trying to control the distance but not too bothered if Porpramook was able to get up close in a trade off. The fights first major talking point was in round 3 as Hernandez's powerful blows started to take their effect on Porpramook with the Thai being wobbled before being dropped late in the round. Hernandez went hell for leather at the end of the round and whilst he failed to stop Porpramook he had done some notable damage before slipping himself. After the bell to end the round both men continued to trade with each other several seconds as the crowd went wild.

At the start of the fourth round an accidental headclash bizarrely so both men deducted a point (at least that's what the referee seemed to indicate). After the clash of heads Porpramook had arguably his best round as he tried to make up for the fact he was dropped in the previous round. Hernandez however fought back well and fight fans were treated to one of the rounds of the year as both guys went at each other hard with a huge variety of shots.

In the fifth round Hernandez seemed to start grinding down Porpramook landing numberous hurtful body shots as well as hurtful head shots forcing Porpramook to fight much of the round off the ropes and appearing to shake him hard at the end of the round. The following round Hernandez dropped Porpramook against the ropes very early on after a series of hard shots. Despite rising on wobbly legs Porpramook appeared clear headed after the 8 count however the referee, controversially, waved an early end to the bout declaring the Thai in no fit state to continue.

The stoppage it's self seemed really poor, especially after their first bout, however Porpramook had been hurt in the previous round and Hernandez was starting to really come on strong.  Hopefully the controversial ending will allow us to see a third bout, hopefully in a neutral venue such as Las Vegas and hopefully give both fighters a chance to not only be seen by a wider audience but also collect a pay day they deserve.

Jesus Silvestre v Takuya Mitamura

Mexican Jesus Silvestre (26-3, 19) successfully defended his WBA "interim" Minimumweight title for the first time as he stopped previously unbeaten Japanese challenger Takuya Mitamura (12-1, 2) in just 4 rounds.

Silvestre started the fight well and used both accurate hurtful counters as well as some thudding combinations in the early rounds to hurt Mitamura who, despite landing his own shots did little to really stop Silvestre from doing as he wished.

By the end of the third round it appeared that Silvestre's hurtful body punches were taking their toll out of Mitamura and early in the fourth round the Japanese fighter was stopped effectively a broken man.

Despite the victory being a decent one for Silvestre, I do have to wonder how he would fair with the top guys at 105lbs. Countrymen Mario Rodriguez (IBF) and Moises Fuentes (WBO) would both be great unification bouts with a lot of action and excitement, however Silvestre would likely lose to any of the top Japanese fighters (Kazuto Ioka, Akira Yaegashi or  Katsunari Takayama).

For Mitamura the logical next fight is a bout with rising young star Ryuji Hara (13-0, 10) who won Mitamura's old Japanese Minimumweight title in midweek.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Moises Fuentes v Ivan Calderon

Puerto Rican Ivan Calderon (35-3-1, 6) was unsuccessful in his attempt to regain the WBO Minimumweight title as he was stopped in the fifth round against Mexican Moises Fuentes (16-1, 8).

The bout started amazingly well for Calderon who dominated the opening round with his speed, movement and unbelievable slipperiness as he landed shots at will whilst avoiding pretty much everything thrown his way.

If the opening round was impressive by the challenger then the second round was even more amazing as Calderon put on a boxing clinic and appeared to have rolled back the clock as he landed time and time again on Fuentes. Calderon was in and out in a flash and tied up Fuentes when ever the two fighters were close. This was looking like vintage Calderon and it was hard to believe that the challenger was 37!

Calderon continued to embarrass Fuentes in the third round again using his much superior skills and movement to completely neutralise the champion who was mostly looking clueless. In the third however Fuentes managed his first notable success as he let his hands go in the centre of the ring and managed to connect with one or two shots. Up to this point he had struggled to land anything at all.

Over the first 3 rounds it had all been Calderon, however the bout took a massive change at the end of the fourth round as Calderon was caught in the corner and Fuentes took full advantages letting his hands go none stop for around 20 seconds. Although Calderon avoided taking many shots clean he did take several hard, punishing  blows that seemed to turn the fight in the way of the champion who came out for the fifth round with the same intention he had finished the fourth.

Building on his momentum from round 4, Fuentes set off at a hectic pace in the fifth round and swiftly had Calderon back in corner before unleashing another series of hurtful blows dropping Calderon for an 8 count. Although Calderon recovered to his feet, the fight had been beaten out of him, and he'd be own for a second time soon afterwards before retiring himself in the middle of the round by taking a knee with what looked to be a badly damaged right arm.

Despite looking sensational for 3 rounds Caleron really is a fighter showing his age, and probably does need to hand them up before he takes permanent damage. He still has more skills than most fighters out there, sadly however the combination of age, injuries and tough bouts has caught up with him. Hopefully he hangs them up now, before he ends up really badly beaten.

Fuentes may have scored the win but I can't help but think a prime Calderon would seriously have embarrassed him for all 12 rounds. He got through this more the basis of his youth and energy rather than his skills, and this could be a problem against a number of the other top guys at 105lbs. Saying that however, Fuentes does hit hard, he is aggressive, he's tough and he's detimed all great ingredients for any top fighter.

Zaurbek Baysangurov v Lukas Konecny

Russian Zaurbek Baysangurov (28-1, 20) successfully defended the WBO Light Middleweight title as he defeated Czech Lukas Konecny (48-4, 23) in a thoroughly enjoy and hard fought bout.

The bout started excellently for the challenger who applied constant pressure and appeared to win the first two rounds with a high work rate and some excellent movement as Baysangurov tried to trade with him. In these early rounds it appeared as if Konecny just had too much experience, skill and toughness, sadly for the challenger however it didn't take long before the champion changed his tactics.

In round 3 Baysangurov started to utilise his significant reach and height advantage and used his jab to keep Konecny at a safe distance. Although many of Baysangurov's shots were taken on the guard he was starting to stay away from Konecny's relentless attack and whilst also beginning to control the distance. By the end of the 3rd Konecny's nose was starting to trickle blood, though it was nothing too noticeable it still seemed noteworthy.

Through the middle rounds Baysangurov started to take control of the bout and although Konecny kept the rounds close and competitive it just appeared as if Baysangurov had a bit too much movement, energy and reach. As Baysangurov started to take the rounds he was also upping his own work rate whilst Konecny was becoming less active as well as less successful.

Having fallen well behind, Konecny tried to turn the fight around in the championship rounds but unfortunately had left himself too much to do and had suffered a number of cuts, including a nasty one on his nose an usual one on top of his head and, in round 12, a very nasty one around his eye. The eye cut forced the referee to take Konecny over to the Dr but with less than 2 minutes left the Dr let the fight continue as Konecny attempted to turn the fight around but failed.

Despite being an excellent and high tempo bout with a lot of competitiveness it was fought with a lot of mutual respect by both men who both seemed to respect not only each other but the actual fight it's self. There was only 1 notable foul (a low blow by Baysangurov in round 11) and nothing deliberately dirty by either man, sadly however it seemed like Konecny, at 34 years old, was a fighter who was starting to genuinely look like a man on the slide. Hopefully it won't be the last we see of him.